Posted by: atowhee | November 15, 2014

PRETTY BIRD

I was face to face with beauty this morning.  Overnight it had been drizzly, the sky was still mostly overcast so the light was dim and even.  This often makes small birds feel less exposed, less skittish.  Such was the case with one of the two (I suspect) White-throated Sparrows who’ve chosen to winter around Ashland Pond.  The one who chose to pose for photos on the lichen-encrusted limb of a nearby oak is the brightly feathered one.  The other sparrow I’ve photographed there may be a youngster and is much less brightly colored right now.WTS FRONT (1280x960)How much of this bird’s beauty is its relative rarity in our area?  If he were as common as male Mallards or Robins or Scrub-Jay would we walk right past?

BTW, John Bullock has found two White-throats around the feeders at North Mountain Park about a mile upstream from the pond.  Ashland is clearly a White-throat hot spot.

Brings to mind my favorite quote from Rich Stallcup, “Yes, but have you ever seen THAT Robin before?” WTS LEFTY (1280x960) WTS ON LIMB1 (1280x960) WTS RIGHT1 (1280x960) WTS-RIGHTYThis image below shows how the White-throated Sparrow is usually seen at Ashland Pond.WTS HIDES (1280x960)This is at least the fourth straight year the species has wintered among the Golden-crowns, Fox and Song Sparrows there.  Can we even still consider them vagrant?  Aren’t they by now simply uncommon wintering birds like Hutton’s Vireo or Say’s Phoebe?

Last spring the two at Ashland Pond were singing by late April, dualing with their “peabody, peabody” tune.  Definitely more dual than duet.  One answering the other, or was it challenging?

My favorite White-throat story happened one autumn in New York’s Central Park.  I had joined up with a local bird group looking for migrants.  They simply walked past every White-throated Sparrow flock like we would Juncos here.  Not even worth a mention.  Every brown ground thrush would get thoroughly vetted, one became my lifer Bicknell’s.  I lagged at one point and scanned over the nearest sparrows, and in the back of the gang on the ground was a single White-crown.  When I casually mentioned it so it would be added to our day list the whole group stampeded back for a long look at the “unusual” White-crowned Sparrow.

“What a beauty!” someone exclaimed.  Rare beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Responses

  1. How kind of the sparrow to pose so neatly for you! I just saw my first of these in the Portland area recently, mixed in with some golden crowns.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: